More than 130 right-wing activists blocked various routes into the port of Calais yesterday to protest the “migrant invasion”.
They claimed to have taken control of three bridges leading to the city. Blockades were erected, fires lit, drums banged and 14 people arrested.
Their banners were adorned with blunt slogans such as “Go Home,” “Defend Calais” and “No way.”
— Damien Rieu (@DamienRieu) March 12, 2016
The demonstrators were from the “hipster right” Génération Identitaire group; a notably young movement of anti-mass migration activist who engage in direct action.
“This morning, Génération Identitaire occupied two bridges to calais to filter the passages and prevent “migrants” to join the city!” they wrote on Facebook.
Adding: “Tonight 14 activists and activists are still in custody. Before you go to bed, have a thought for the ones who will spend the night at the station.”
— Grégoire de Linares (@G_deLinares) March 12, 2016
Explaining their motives, they said: “For months, Calais has been a symbol …of the real invasion confronting our continent,” claiming the town has recently seen “attacks against police, against motorists and truck drivers, city riots, the total disintegration of social life and the economy.”
“Since these governments refuse to protect people by restoring the borders… they will see people building barricades! As this morning in Calais,” the group added.
The decision to finally dismantle the southern side of the so-called ‘jungle’ illegal migrant camp just outside Calais was taken at the end of February.
Widespread crime and violence, which has spilt into the nearby town, was part of the reason. As demolition teams moved in, the camp descended into “guerrilla warfare”, with huts set on fire and journalists attacked.
— Loяe CONSTANTIN (@lore_constantin) March 12, 2016
“Refugee rights group says ‘73% of respondents have experienced first-hand police violence during their time in Calais’, tweeted the Channel 4 News journalist Alex Thompson.
“But they will not tell you Jungle migrants/refugees routinely attack trucks driving to the port.
“They routinely rob people entering the Jungle at knifepoint. And they routinely attack the police with stones and throwing other debris at them”, he added.